Archives for posts with tag: travel journal

It’s the wonderment of Mother Earth and her ability to expand and contract in all sorts of ways which takes my breath away. And, last night when I decided I needed to get out and hike to get a fresh perspective and to also get out of this 16-foot trailer for the whole day, the only place I wanted to see was the place I picked to stay…my favorite volcanic site, Snow Canyon State Park. Even though it’s a small park, I never get bored seeing its geologic fabulousness.

I really can’t add to the adventure much but will explain a little under each photo, but, other than that, words still escape me. I’m breathless. Swept away by its beauty and power. Enjoy.

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If you’re interested in the volcanic history of this place (from 27,000 years ago), then read this.

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Lava rocks are sprinkled like peppercorns all over this landscape.

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Views are too majestic and regal to reduce to words. It’s so very quiet here.

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Layers of Petrified Sand Dunes of all colors!

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Petrified Sand Dunes

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Lava rock capped petrified sand dunes.

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Closer look of Lava rock capped petrified dunes.

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Layers of petrified dunes eroded away by wind and rain.

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Hiked up to see the Pioneer Names Trail.

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Pioneer Names Trail takes you to see where pioneers wrote their names & date in axle grease dating back to 1881!

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Hiked next to Jenny’s Canyon.

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Jenny’s Canyon

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Had to go back, of course, to the Snow Canyon Overlook. This was to the left of where I was standing.

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Yep. Had to take another pic of it. I couldn’t delete one!

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Got a decent selfie of my back overlooking the overlook without getting vertigo. It only took about 7 tries!

Now, back to work.

Happy Trails…until we meet again!

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WOW! I left Green River, Utah at 9:30 AM today headed West on I-70 to drive 237 miles which, under normal driving, would have taken just a little over three (3) hours with the speed limits generally ranging from 75-80 MPH past the major inclines.

I did decide as I took off from Green River that I’d take the time to turn off on “Scenic Views” if and when I saw something interesting. The name “Black Dragon Canyon” pulled me right in. I didn’t have the time or inclination to hike the trail to see the drawing but if you Google the name, you’ll see an interesting pictograph painted on the walls of the canyon by ancient ones of what looks to be a flying dragon, which, by the way, isn’t black! The view, however, was marvelous!

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Now, go back in time a couple of days to recall that horrific 40-60 MPH wind gusts I faced going through Denver toward Boulder? Well, I guess somebody upstairs wanted to prepare me for today because it took me 6 hours to drive that 3 hour distance because of that same situation except include 8000′-foot elevation mountains (up and down), dust flying from undeveloped prairies and NO gas stations for a hundred miles on a tank that’s only gave me 7-8 MPG today! The good news is that the only cows I saw were in holding pins and not in front of me in cattle trailers!

After driving almost a hundred miles without the whiff of a gas station, I broke my normal rule of easy on/off gas stations at the exits and decided to exit at Emery, Utah  as the next town was 35 miles away. It was one of those gut instinct moments because only after exiting the expressway was there a sign that read “Next Gas 35 Miles.” Needless to say, I gladly drove the 24 miles roundtrip to get to the sleepy little one-gas-pump (literally) town to fill up.  I would have been so screwed if I hadn’t!  All these years of driving the back roads (and especially this summer’s adventures in Canada) reinforced my instincts to fill up at every chance.

The few times the winds weren’t beating me up, I was able to catch a few shots that were so magnificent that I just had to try and capture some of the wonderment of this region. It feels like “home” to me except for all the winds!

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I finally made it to my next stop for the night glad I booked in advance because all these RV parks fill up quickly! I need the rest from those blowin’ winds. I got this baby anchored down for the night which is something I don’t normally do on hit-and-run stays. I don’t normally mind being rocked to sleep but I’ve had enough of that bucking bronco rodeo for today! I need a trophy that reads, “Buckin’ Bronco Road Warrior Rodeo Champion!”

So, Happy Trails…until we meet again!

July 3, 2017 – New Brunswick:

Well, yesterday, Stacey and I decided to drive from Bangor, Maine as far as we wanted to into New Brunswick (Canada) toward Nova Scotia until we got tired or ran out of time, and then drive back to our non-cancelable hotel room in Bangor. And, we did just that… via the back roads…and it took F-O-R-E-V-E-R! These roads are rough, to say the least! Couple that with the s-l-o-w speed limits and the unchanging views and one gets a little stir crazy and feeling like you entered the Twilight Zone or a black hole where the wheels on the car are moving but you aren’t! Been there a great deal in my Canada travels. Love the people, though!

The one thing that keeps my interest is the clouds while driving from Maine to New Brunswick and back. They are very heavy, many different types in one single view and low to the ground. The other part that brightened our day was the Canadian Border Crossing grilling! These dudes are intense!

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Canadian Border crossing on backroad Highway 1.

Pretty intense! “Why do you want to drive across the border to turn around and come back?” And it didn’t stop there.

I just answered, “Because I’ve never been to New Brunswick before and that’s what I do…go places I’ve never been to before!”

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However, there was the nicest man who greeted us at the US Border Crossing with the more intense younger dude behind him scrutinizing our ever glance. I answered all the man’s questions before he had a chance to ask as I’d been down this road before with the last four crossings! 2017-7-3 NB7

July 4, 2017 – Nova Scotia:

This morning, July 4th, we checked out of the Bangor, Maine hotel and headed, quite excitedly, for Nova Scotia (via New Brunswick via the quickest land route. On the drive, we had such a great time catching up and chatting, that I forgot to get gas! My brother texted me and when it showed up on my Bluetooth, I noticed the time and looked at the gas gauge. The light was on and I had no idea how long it’d been on! This area of Maine is quite desolate and I was getting concerned about our gas situation when an exit sign appeared. As has been my experience in my travels, not all exits have facilities of any kind!

Exit 276 on Trans Canada Highway 2 will forever be my favorite place in Maine! I can’t even remember the name of the town where it was but we not only got the gas pumped for us but met this group of wonderful men sitting around a table drinking coffee and telling lies! Of course, Stacey and I had to join in! We stood there for the longest time getting to know them, hugged and said we’d see them on the “come around” tomorrow…and we will!

We got caught in the time warp thing again as soon as we crossed the Canadian Border again. Dang! I was glad to hear Stacey say that she’d felt it too because I was beginning to wonder if it was just me. Thank GOD for Stacey!

It took EIGHT HOURS to drive from Bangor to Nova Scotia only to find out how slow it is to get around this province. There’s no fast way to do anything here and I believe it would take a person at least two weeks to see it all. I hear tell there are about a million people living in Nova Scotia. Hmmmm. Not sure where on them marshlands they be living but I ain’t got no authority to discount that population number and don’t care to because I do believe I saw every one of them on the roads as we struggled our way off and on this road and that just to get to our hotel in Halifax only to find out we’d need two weeks to see the area and all we had was about a half of a day.

So, we jumped back into the truck (really? again?) and drove to see the closest historic area called Peggy’s Cove where there is an old lighthouse. It didn’t appear to be that far from our hotel by looking at the map but it took us an hour to get there (expanded to much longer considering the time warp factor)! It only took us about forty minutes to get back. Hmmm.

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Rainbow on drive from Halifax to Peggy’s Cove!

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Adorable Churches all on the drive to Peggy’s Cove

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Finally, I see water!

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The roof  of this church in Peggy’s Cove seemed to glow. This is photo is not altered!

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Quaint fishing village in Peggy’s Cove

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Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse

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Flowers in the rocks!

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The rocks, rain and sunset.

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Stacey & the lighthouse

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Village shop in Peggy’s Cove

Tomorrow? We start to drive back to Georgia. It’ll be a test of every bit of fortitude we can muster to get this done in the time allotted, but knowing Stacey and me, we’ll get ‘er done! July 5th? Albany, NY or bust!

HAPPY TALES AND TRAILS, UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN!

It was cool hiking some small trails yesterday but today was the BOMB! I just  LOVE driving through the park. As a rock hound, I’m in total hog heaven. The  rock formations are remarkable combinations from billions of years ago with that  many years of rain, wind, sand and Lord only knows what else attacking the  surface to expose what we see today. There are layers and layers of frozen-in-time  waves of red mud thrown in several different directions all frozen in a moment in  time.

Zion from West entrance before climb

Zion's form of barrier to keep you from going over ... what... that 10,000 foot cliff?

The red is the same red of Georgia clay used for making old bricks for 200 years  ago. Add to that red, splashes of very white, chalky looking rock and lots of dark  green pion pine needles and reddish-brown bark, light green cacti with yellow  or sometimes bright pink blooms. Sprinkled across this landscape are tiny  lavender bell-shaped wild flowers along the side of the road or bright red flowers  creeping out of the rock formations. We drove about 15 MPH and took over two  hours driving about 40 miles. Normally, I’d do that in 30 minutes! Tells it all,  don’t it!

Great caves carved out of the rock from billions of years of nature's tantrums

Cactus flowers along side of road

After driving up the mountain you reach the part where you go through the mile long tunnel. It’s so cool but the jerk kid in front of us threw out a cherry bomb in the tunnel and scared the crap outta’ us. Needless to say, when we exited said tunnel, I reported it complete with truck description and license tag number to the Forest Ranger holding the oncoming traffic as only one lane is open at a time. Saw the truck pulled over with a Ranger looking for the culprits. Like that!

mile long tunnel

Now we’re on our way back out of the park exiting to the east so that we can end up at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, hopefully, before too late so we can get a place to stay.

Can you find Ava?

This is where we stopped because we saw a waterfall, such as it is. The only one during the whole trip.

Waterfall desert style

This next picture was so amazing because of the rock formations but if you look closely at the very top of the white mountain, there are rocks stacked on top of each other.

Can you see the rocks stacked on top of the white mountain?

Here’s a better picture of the stacked rocks on top of that white mountain with my zoom.

Now can you see them?

So, after all this excitement, we realized that we needed to hustle up to get a place  to stay. As Ava wanted to hike down into the Canyon and stay at Phantom  Ranch tomorrow and hike back out the South Rim the following day, we needed  a place near the North Rim. We were hoping against hope that there would be  room in the park. No such luck. They book a year out.

We found a place 43 miles from the North Rim. It is officially called Kaibab  Campgrounds at Jacob Lake (or a similar name) which we now call Rip Off  Campground. We’re so mad for so many reasons but first the cool part.

We set up camp around 5:30 PM and drove immediately to the North Rim so Ava  could find out specific details about her hike for the next day. We were confident  that the only challenge after returning to camp was to not be excited in  anticipation of her adventure… that apple don’t fall far from the tree. I walked a  different path (vertigo, ya’ know) while she headed toward the Lodge and  inquired as to availability for dinner. They had just had a cancellation so we could get a table on the RIM eating fine food, drinking fine wine while watching the sunset go down over the North Rim. Ava looked at me and said seriously, “Ya’ know this is the only place you can see the sunset over the Grand Canyon.” I believed her. And it was.

Now back to the rip off campground. First of all they charge me with my little pop-up $37.00 plus tax which is the same as they do for huge 40 foot RV’s! No discounts. This has been a thorn in my side for the last three trips but now that these places are going up every year, it’s really ticking me off. The worst part? They have the NERVE to charge me $2.25 (in quarters only) to take a FIVE minute shower in a 2’x2′ shower stall! My little pop-up uses almost no electricity  and we certainly don’t have toilets or running water like the RV’s.

When I get home, I’m writing every congressman and woman about the  problems with the cost of camping. How can it cost as much as a Motel 6 for crying out loud! There, at least I get a warm bed and a shower for about the same price! There’s some gouging going on and I’m either upgrading my pop-up to include toilet, shower and big screen TV or selling it and going back to Motel 6 like I had to do in 2009.

What’s wrong with this state of the union when camping use to be affordable? I worked 45 years to live this dream of camping my way across this country. It’s been my dream, darn-it.

Up early to take Ava back to the North Rim to hike while I tear down camp and drive to some new unknown campground at the South Rim Friday! The challenge is that neither of our cell phone service providers have great service here but I don’t doubt that she’ll find me!

Happy trails.